Do companies need a social media policy? Well, to a certain extent, yes. During a recent opening speech at the 3rd Annual Social Media for HR congress, I asked for a show of hands from the audience of HR directors, how many of them has a social media policy?
Amazingly, only a few of them raised their hands.
Three Types of Social Media Communication
Before I delve into explaining why a social media policy is important for your company, let’s look at the three common types of social media communication today.
The first type of social media communication is between the company and the public. This is usually where our corporate communications or public relations team are good at.
The second type of social media communication is between the company, the employee, and the public. The employee can be anyone in the company such as the CEO, the sales staff, the customer service staff, the marketer, the driver, the cleaner, the PR guy, the intern, the admin person and so on.
This is the type of social media communication that the company needs to put a lot of focus and also implement its social media policy on; because this is where most social media crisis may happen.
The third type of social media communication is what I called, the Anyhow Whack stage. This shows zero, slow or poor social media management from the company such that the public simply bombard everything negative about the brand on social media. Or when the employees openly voiced their complaints about work on social media.
This “Anyhow Whack” stage will therefore, greatly hurt the company brand reputation if left uncontrolled.
The Importance of Having a Social Media Policy
Having your own social media policy is extremely important; at least, it gives your company a certain degree of control on social media, thus preventing your brand from entering the “Anyhow Whack” stage.
Companies HR can consider training its employees in behaving well on social media such that they would not embarrass themselves in public or putting up careless and sensitive remarks on social media, thereby causing brand reputation loss for the company.
In other words, having a simple and direct social media policy, may somehow protect the brand, from potential reputation loss due to any social media disaster.
Accepting Social Media
Funny how, but true, there is still companies today which completely avoid using social media. Some of them may think that avoiding social media will mean that no social media crisis will ever occur to them. Such management method is very unrealistic, like an ostrich digging its head into the ground.
There are cases where senior executives of major companies, who made silly acts and rants on public without them realizing that their acts are being caught on video and uploaded onto YouTube and shared aggressively on social media.
So even if companies avoid using social media, the public can still say anything about them; this is because anyone who has a camera phone and internet access, can potentially cause damages to the company brand reputation.
We need to accept social media; and the moment we embrace it, we will definitely, to some extent, able to control and manage social media better. Perhaps, driving more business profits with the help of social media too!